History of Hiram, Maine
From
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886




Hiram is the south-eastern town of Oxford County, and is situated 36 miles S.S.W. of Paris, and about the same distance north-west of Portland. For its bounding towns, it has Brownfield and Denmark on the north, Porter on the west, Sebago arid Baldwin, in Cumberland County, on the east, and Cornish and Parsonsfield, in York County, on the south. Saco River runs southward through the northern part of the town, and forms the boundary line between Hiram and Baldwin for over half the eastern side. The Ossipee River comes in from the west, forming the southern boundary line between Parsonsfield and Cornish and this town, uniting with the Saco at the south-east corner of Hiram. Along the western border of the town is a chain of ponds, the largest of which are Clemon's, Trafton and Spectacle Ponds. They have an outlet to the north by Ten Mile River, a tributary of the Saco. On the pastern side of the town, at the northern end, are Middle Barker and South-east ponds.

Tear-Cap, Mount Cutler, Bill Merrill Hill, Gould and Peaked mountains run through the town nearly from north-east to south-west. Bill Merrill Hill is the superior elevation, its summit being 1,750 feet above the sea. Mount Cutler is west of Hiram Village, on the opposite side of the Saco. Between this mountain and the river runs the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad. There is much forest and a great variety of trees in this town. Along the streams and about the ponds are some tracts of good interval; and on the north side of the Ossipee was, not long since, an extensive tract of pitch-pine plains. The rocks are gneiss, slate, the schists, etc. The soil is generally a sandy loam. Hay is the principal crop. There are five sawing and planing-mills, two grist-mills, one carding-mill, etc. The manufactures are long and short lumber, staves, shooks, men's clothing, harnesses, liquid slating and blackboards, axe-helves, etc. The post-offices are Hiram Village (Hiram Bridge), a pretty village amid charming scenery, East Hiram, and South Hiram. The town is large in area, being about 11 miles from north-east to south-west, and having a width of 3½ miles.

The first settlements in Hiram, Williamson says, were about 1780. Others say in 1774. Benjamin Ingalls, John Watson, Thomas Veazie, John Bucknell, Benjamin Burbank and a Mr. Foster, who were among the earliest settlers, arrived about 1788. The town was incorporated Feb. 27, 1814. The name was selected by Timothy Cutler, an old settler, in honor of "Hiram, King of Tyre."

General Peleg Wadsworth, a native of Duxbury, Mass., and a Revolutionary patriot, in 1790 bought of Massachusetts a tract of land in Hiram. On this, in 1792-4, he commenced clearing a farm for his eldst son, Charles L. Wadsworth. Later General Wadsworth built the brick house next west of the Preble House, in Portland, and lived there some time; but he finally removed to Hiram, where he died in November, 1829, aged eighty years. His descendants still reside in the town. One of his daughters married Stephen Longfellow, Esq., of Portland, and became the mother of the poet Longfellow. The town furnished about 100 men to the Union cause in the war of the Rebellion, of whom 39 were lost.

The Methodists, Universalists and Congregationalista each have church edifices. The number of publis schoolhouses in Hiram is fourteen, valued, with appurtenances, at $5,000. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $300,170. In 1880 it was $393,l16. The rate of taxation in the latter year was about 8 mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,393. In 1880 it was 1,449.

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